PM tells UN of Ravi’s murder by terrorists
By Clint Chan Tack Thursday, September 26 2013
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PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last night told the 68th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York that the brutal murder of Trinidadian Ravindra “Ravi” Ramrattan in the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, underscores the urgent need for a crackdown on
the proliferation of small arms and light weapons across international borders.
Persad-Bissessar, the current Caricom chairman and leader with responsibility for security in Caricom’s quasi-Cabinet, made this call to the General Assembly hours after she submitted this country’s instrument of ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty at the UN and disclosed that Government is reviewing TT’s laws to ensure it will meet all its obligations under the treaty once it comes into force.
“One of our brilliant young citizens Mr Ravindra Ramrattan, a former President’s Gold Medalist for academic excellence was killed last Saturday in the terrorist attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi. He no doubt fell victim to illegal guns and other weapons in the hands of murderous terrorists,” she told the assembled delegates. Newsday yesterday reported Ramrattan’s final words in a text message he sent to a friend were, “I am safe. I am hiding in a supermarket.”
Government is making efforts to bring his body home.
“His death is merely one more example of the consequences of the illicit cross border flows of small arms and light weapons which in the Caricom context, and indeed in many regions of the world, are our weapons of mass destruction,” Persad-Bissessar declared.
Describing TT as a stalwart supporter of the Arms Trade Treaty, Persad-Bissessar said, “The implementation of this Treaty would significantly enhance national efforts, aimed at providing a safe and secure environment for citizens, which is a contributory factor to development.”
Focusing on the ongoing crisis in Syria, the Prime Minister said TT “submits that if there is prima facie evidence that individuals committed war crimes, within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), during this protracted conflict, steps should be taken to bring those individuals to justice.”
Persad-Bissessar reiterated this country’s grave concern about the escalating humanitarian crisis in Syria and its call “for the situation to be resolved through dialogue, and not through the use of any measures, which would violate international law.”
On reparations for slavery, Persad-Bissessar said UN member states which have not yet done so, should “contribute to the UN Trust Fund to ensure the erection of a permanent memorial in honour of the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, at a place of prominence at the UN Headquarters” in New York.